David Ray French passed away September 8, 2009 at the age of 51, after an extended battle with esophageal cancer. Dave was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas on Friday, August 8, 1958 at St. Bernard's Hospital. He was the second of four children of Bobby R. French and Kathryn D. French. David is survived by his wife Clarisa Feldman, his parents, and five children; Benjamin Ray Isaac French, 24 of San Antonio, Joshua David Michael French, 19, who is currently serving in the US Navy, and Daniel James Robert French, 17 of San Antonio, Janet Kaufman, 28, of San Antonio, and Sammy Kaufman, 21 of Syracuse, NY. Additionally, he is survived by his brother Gregory Philip French and Greg's wife Ruth of Las Cruces, NM, his sister Sherry Lynn Cummins and her husband Patrick of San Antonio, Texas, his sister Patricia Ann Nail and her husband George of Albuquerque, NM, and their children Allison Cummins, Brian Cummins, Ryan Nail, and Elizabeth Nail. David grew up in New Mexico and graduated from Robert H. Goddard High School in Roswell, NM in May 1976. He was a member of the band throughout his youth and played clarinet. Dave obtained his private pilot's license while in high school by working at the airport in exchange for flying lessons. His first solo flight took place on May 30, 1976. After graduation, Dave joined the navy as an electrician's mate and served in the Pacific Fleet aboard the USS Frederick. He completed his four year enlistment and went on to attend New Mexico State University. He graduated in 1984 having achieved a Bachelors degree of Business Administration and Finance. While at NMSU, he continued to pursue his love of flying by working at the airport in Las Cruces and participated in competitive flying with his brother, Greg. Upon graduating from college, David was accepted into the US Air Force for pilot training. He graduated pilot training, class 8204, in 1985 and began his career as a B-52 pilot. Dave was stationed at Barksdale AFB, LA for the remainder of his Air Force career. When Dave was discharged from the Air Force in 1989 he began his career as a commercial airline pilot, flying for Pan Am Airlines, Express One, and Northwest Airlines. Dave flew DC - 9, Boeing 727, 747, 757, Airbus 320 and 330 aircraft and had a great time traveling the world. During the Gulf War David served his country again by flying military troop transports for Express One. He met a huge variety of people in his travels and enjoyed getting to know everyone who walked on his airplanes. He was a first officer for Northwest Airlines at the time of his medical retirement in 2008. David was a citizen of the world. He would try anything and had many hobbies and interests. He collected experiences from around the world. Dave collected wines, loved a variety of sports including riding his jet skis and boating, skiing (both water and snow), windsurfing, racquetball, flying model airplanes, and anything else you challenged him to do. If you taught him how to do something one day he would beat you at it the next day. He also loved playing board games, reading, shooting, history, and culture. Dave wanted to experience many different cultures, places, new foods, and new ideas. Travel was not just his job, it was his life. David met Clarisa Isabella Feldman in 1997. Clarisa and Dave began a life of adventure and travel while working together on a flight to Fargo, ND for Northwest Airlines. This was only the first journey in a life that took them around the world together. They married on June 12, 2001 in Las Vegas, NV. David has made San Antonio the home for his family and has resided in Texas for the past twenty years. His greatest joy was flying and spending time with his friends and family. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Cancer Research Institute in Dave's memory. A fund has been established in the name of David R. French, and any donations will be acknowledged to the family. For more information call 1-800-99-CANCER (992-2623) or go online to www.cancerresearch.org.

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  1. My nephew, but a best friend. Dave flew with me, “Uncle Latham” as I am known to the family, when he was young. Later we met in cities all over the country and enjoyed the local culture (read that how you will). We shared a love for aviation, good things, good people. I loved him dearly. My heart aches – I miss him so very much. You’re cleared for departure NW Heavy, upon departure climb to . . . . . . . .

  2. David was more like a brother than a cousin to me and I will miss him dearly. Always present and influential throughout my life, he was the one that pushed me toward my own aviation career as a flight attendant. I cant remember one single time when he didnt have a smile for me, even in his final few days. That is how I will remember himstrong, smiling and full of life, honor and courage.

  3. We will truly miss David. Our lives will not be the same. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. “We don’t beat the reaper by living longer, but by living well and fully- for the reaper will come for all of us. The question is what we do in between the time we are born and the time he shows up” (RAndy Pausch) David certainly lived life to the fullest.

  4. Dave was introduced to me by his sister Trish… while She and I were in Nursing school. I adopted Trish into my family and Dave was added welcome addition. We have known each other since a Nursing conference in Dallas in 1993. Dave has been my friend and a confidant, a shoulder and a listening ear. We shared parenting concerns as single parents and stories about our kids. Dave was a fine example to my oldest son who wanted to fly and someone I could refer to when I needed expertise for guiding my son to his flying education. I will always cherish his friendship, humor and his family, whom I have come to know through him. Dave, I will miss you… Linda Petak

  5. We were deeply saddened to hear of David’s passing. David was my cousin and I always admired his zest for life. Also, I always loved telling people about my cousin, the Commercial airline pilot. I’ll continue to do so. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.

  6. David left us much too soon, we will all miss him so much. He was a wonderful person, full of laughter and love, a real joy to be around. Rest in peace David, We love you. Aunt Fay

  7. I am greatly sadden by the loss of my cousin David. He was a great guy and I have always been proud to know him. I will always remember his wonderful smile and how special he was. I love you David and miss you.

  8. I had a lot great times with David when our families would get together during our younger years. I could always count on him for some good “rough-housing”. Always a lot of fun.

  9. Dave, you are deeply missed. You were a fantastic friend, a great pilot, an honorable and caring man. We are honored to have been your friend. Thanks for the fun and laughter we shared, the memories we have to cherish and most of all, thank you for leaving your foot print on our hearts. Our condolences to your loving wife, Clarissa, your wonderful children and your very dear family. Remembering you always!

  10. Our nephew David’s passing is a great loss to the family. We had fun on the farm in Arkansas keeping David out of trouble! He was the bright light of the family. He grew up to be a good son, husband, father and pilot. We were very proud of David and very sad to have lost him so soon.

  11. We were saddened to hear about Dave. As a part of his NWA Detroit apartment family, I was fortunate to call Dave a friend. He always had a smile and a good word for everyone (crew scheduling excepted). We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. Bob and Judy Allen, Fairfax, VA

  12. Although Dave and I were separated by a few generations, I am absolutely proud to call Dave French my friend. As a crash-pad mate, I learned quickly that Dave was a genuine and gregarious man. I know he will be greatly missed by all that his life touched. I’ll see you again some day, Dave. I’ll bring the Zingerman’s. God Bless.

  13. Quando sono sola sogno all’orizzonte e mancan le parole, si lo so che non c’ luce in una stanza quando manca il sole, se non ci sei tu con me, con me. Su le finestre mostra a tutti il mio cuore che hai accesso, chiudi dentro me la luce che hai incontrato per strada. Time to say goodbye. Paesi che non ho mai veduto e vissuto con te, adesso si li vivr. Con te partir su navi per mari che, io lo so, no, no, non esistono pi, it’s time to say goodbye. Quando sei lontana sogno all’orizzonte e mancan le parole, e io si lo so che sei con me con me, tu mia luna tu sei qui con me, mio sole tu sei qui, con me, con me, con me, con me. Time to say goodbye. Paesi che non ho mai veduto e vissuto con te, adesso s li vivr. Con te partir su navi per mari che, io lo so, no, no, non esistono pi, con te io li rivivr. Con te partir su navi per mari che, io lo so, no, no, non esistono pi, con te io li rivivr. Con te partir. Io con te His favorite song. Sarah Brightman and Andrea Borcelli. Make the angels weep by flying better than them! Time to say goodbye uncle Dave. Goodbye.

  14. You will always be my only true love and remember you promised to be with me forever, and you are, is just one of those long trips that I hope you having lots of fun on, you are always with me. At least now you can always fly, and Im sure you are the best pilot out there, watch for all of us and I see you soon. Yours always, Clari.

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